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Family Photographer Hyde Park - Feeding the Pigeons

Posted in Just One at 10:11 on 14/11/2017

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I had the most amazing time photographing Slawek and his family in London’s Hyde Park recently. The family were visiting from Poland and Slawek felt it would be a great opportunity for some portraits of the girls and some pictures that captured their wonderful personalities.

We had the most amazing time; it was one of those photo shoots that I will remember for a long time, so full of laughter even though the girls and I didn’t share a common language. I’m always amazed by how much of a connection can be forged with smiles, and laughter, and games.

After a brilliant start playing in the leaves and enjoying a run around in the playground we stopped to warm up with coffee and cake. After refueling I thought it would be fun to teach the girls about feeding the squirrels, one of my favourite activities as a child. When we were little it was such a treat to go to the park with a bag of nuts and see if we could get a squirrel to eat out of our hands, I thought the girls would love it. Usually London squirrels are shameless, heading straight for you when they hear the rustle of a plastic bag but on this day it was the pigeons that were the star of the show.

Truly, I have never seen anything like it. I have vague memories of pigeons landing on people’s outstretched hands in Trafalgar Square back in the 80s but I’ve never seen it in a park. It was amazing; as we tried to attract the squirrels the first pigeon arrived, landing on Slawek’s wife Anna’s hand much to the delight of her daughters. And then, suddenly, a pigeon landed on four year old Maja’s shoulder and I got this picture, on that I think will be heading straight for my portfolio.

I love her look of absolute delight as the pigeon lands, it’s wings outstretched perfectly (thank goodness for the motor-drive). I took a series of pictures but this is my favourite, the feeling of movement, the utter delight, it’s a picture that I know I will come back to again and again and which will, I hope, make the family laugh for many years to come.

The great thing about family photo shoots is their unpredictability, never quite knowing what will happen next. My job as a photographer is in reacting to these situations and using my skill to create images that record the moment in a beautiful fashion. Creating an image in a split second is so much fun and why I truly believe I have the very best job in the world.

Canon Ambassador - Helen Bartlett

Posted in Canon Ambassador at 13:42 on 10/11/2017

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Today is a very good day. Today I have become a Canon Ambassador

I am over the moon, having the opportunity to represent Canon on the world stage is something that I dreamt of when I started my family photography career but I hadn’t expected this dream to become a reality. Years ago, one of my photographic mentors gave me the advice to “Work hard and take great pictures, and then great things will happen”. I’ve worked hard, I like to think I’ve taken some great pictures and – wow! – a great thing has happened.

It wouldn’t have happened without my amazing family and friends, so at the risk of sounding like an Oscars acceptance speech, a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me, in particular my wonderful husband Tom. It also wouldn’t have happened without my fabulous clients, many of whom have shared the journey with me from my first professional shoots back in 2003 with their regular sessions over the years. Watching your children grow and recording their childhood in pictures has been a pleasure and a privilege, and I can’t wait for all the exciting things we will do together in the future as we continue to document their young lives in photographs for your walls and your albums.

Thanks to Canon for giving me this opportunity, I know we are going to build great things together and inspire many new photographers on their journey. Over the coming years, I will be helping Canon to engage with a wider audience, sharing my skills and experiences with professional photographers and keen amateurs alike to help them improve their photography. I will be posting more information about my role as a Canon Ambassador here on the blog in the future but equally, if you would like to join my mailing list then send me an email and I can keep you up to date with any speaking engagements.

For those of you who are new to my work, have a look around the site, at my portfolios and blog. You can also follow me on social media; on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Do stop by and say hello, and I look forward to meeting many of you online and in person over the coming months.

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Outdoor Family Photography Wimbledon - Just One

Posted in Just One at 07:20 on 10/11/2017

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Wimbledon Common in autumn has to be one of my favourite places for a family portrait photography session. It’s so lovely to go somewhere wild while still in London, to feel the history of the old forest and to enjoy the pathways twisting through the woods. I’ve always loved it on Wimbledon Common and so I was thrilled that Jennifer chose it as the location for the families 16th photo shoot. I’ve been photographing the family regularly since Stella was six months old and I’m always humbled when clients bring me into their lives on such a regular basis. Together we are creating a wonderful document of their childhood for the children to look back on - pictures where they can see themselves grow, see their love for their parents and for each other and the laughter and happiness in their everyday lives. I never could have believed I would be this lucky to watch and document such wonderful families, it’s the best job in the world.

We had a brilliant time on Wimbledon Common, exploring the different areas, climbing trees, playing in the leaves and enjoying imaginative games. Hide and seek in the bracken was a particular favourite and it was so much fun, crouched with the children under a canopy of branches trying to stay still and silent while we hid. I love that children welcome me into their games.

I’ve had a hard time choosing a Just One to share today as there are so many pictures that I love from our family photo shoot but I kept coming back to this picture which was one of the first frames of the day. Thomas’s joyful expression makes me smile just to look at it.

As soon as we arrived on the common Thomas was up a tree – it really is a tree-climbing wonderland. He was so adventurous and has a great sense of balance (unlike me as a child, I was always falling out of trees). I love all the little details; the wellington boots covered in diggers and his little hands holding on tightly to the branch. It’s a lovely portrait and I hope you like it as much as I do.

If you are interested in booking your own family portrait session either this year or in the spring then do get in touch. I’m very busy just now but there are a few slots still available before Christmas and I’d love to hear from you.


Get in touch to book a shoot


Fun Portrait Photograph of Triplets on Hampstead Heath

Posted in Just One at 08:56 on 02/11/2017

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Photographing triplets is such great fun! I’m a great believer in letting chaos reign in a family photography session and this is one of the reasons I enjoy photographing big families so much – lots of children tends to equal lots of chaos. When Dominic first contacted me back in 2014 to photograph his family when they were on vacation in London I jumped at the chance – eight-month-old triplets sounded like just the kind of challenge I thrive on. We had a brilliant session and so it really made my day when Dominic contacted me again this year – the family would be visiting London and he was keen to update the family photograph album.

I was really looking forward to the session and I was not disappointed. Barely through the door I was greeted by three excited little boys ‘come play with us, come and play’, I barely had my shoes off before starting a game of hide and seek. Multi-tasking I got my cameras out of the bag while booming ‘Fi, Fie, Fo, Fum… coming, ready or not!’ - truly, the perfect start to a day and a photo shoot.

Looking through the pictures as I edit this family photo shoot with triplets it’s hard to choose a favourite for my sneak peek as there are so many shots that I love. Being a triplet seems to be being part of a sea of limbs, a tangle of small bodies in an ocean of love. The bonds that bind are so strong and the energy levels so high (and then so low when everyone gets tired and needs carrying at the same time, quite a workout for very strong parents!) It must be such a wonderful way to grow up.

I have chosen this image as my Just One because I love how it’s a triple portrait and also an action shot, all three boys having a whale of a time playing in the leaves on Hampstead Heath in the wonderful low autumn light – this really is a magical time of year for family photographs. I love how the boys echo each other, their arms almost in a Mexican wave, going up, coming down, as the leaves are thrown. The smiles are universal, joy and happiness as they play together as a family, triplet boys, brothers and best friends; I can only imagine what amazing adventures they will have together.

I hope you like it, if this is the kind of relaxed portrait picture you would like for your own family then do get in touch, the autumn is very busy but we do have a few slots left before Christmas.

Portrait of a Child Painting, Warwick Avenue, London

Posted in Just One at 17:02 on 30/10/2017

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I’ve always been fascinated by children at play and I think that is what draws me to this beautiful portrait taken on a recent family photography session in Warwick Avenue in London. This was our third family portrait session and I had been really looking forward to it, knowing a relaxed vibe would lead to some really interesting opportunities for photographs that really capture family life.

I find that my photo shoots often span a variety of moods as a morning progresses, sometimes children can be shy initially before warming up to the camera. There can be moments of wild over excitement and boisterous games, and also quiet contemplation and activities that allow for concentration and a really beautiful quiet mood to the photographs. It’s so lovely to have both and I always aim to get a lot of variety in my images from each and every photo shoot.

After some outdoor play, running around the garden and playing hide and seek - we came inside to warm up. Atti was keen to do some painting, clearly a favourite activity and her table was already in the perfect position by the French windows. I knew the light would be divine and so I positioned myself and waited for the perfect moment where gesture and expression would come together in a beautiful image.

I love the little details, the mug labeled for the ‘Atti Team’ with Mama and Pappi and that split second as the tip of the brush touches the paint set. I love the soft light and the illumination of her profile and that wonderful look of concentration on her face.

Pictures like this will stand the test of time because they are so natural, they tell us about a child and their favourite activities. They give us a sense of time and also of place, which is so important in memories. I love that we can see the table and chairs in the nook by the window, a spot that is the perfect size for a two year old and which, I’m sure, when Atti is older she will look back on with fondness as the place she used to play.

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